Making Databases sexy with Dr Who

The maker of database software Neo4j has worked out that the only way to get people interested in his software is to link it to Doctor Who.

Neo4j is an open source graph database, and, face it, would not get much attention from anyone other than people very interested in databases.

This is where Ian Robinson has decided to call in the the Doctor. It is not just marketing bollocks similar to the 1980s when the Doctor was called in to hawk Prime mainframes. Robinson has actually been using his database to track Daleks,  or rather Dalek props that were used in the show.

There is a site called Dalek 6388  that has gone through all publicity photos, episodes and so on to track the various Dalek costumes.

Given that we always thought Daleks were pretty similar, it would take a Who fan of trainspotter proportions to be able to tell them apart.  But if you can find someone who can do this for you, it does provide you with nest load of data which you can track.

Robinson showed how you might track each and every piece of a Dalek costume, along with the episodes that it appeared in using Neo4j. You could be watching an old epesode of Doctor Who and know this was the same Dalek which failed to negotiate a set of stairs in another episode.

Robinson has graphed it out visually, then showed code examples of how you would retrieve the information using Java and the new Cypher graph query language.

It is being seen as cutting edge database stuff. It certainly does rip open a new dimension in boredom.